To commemorate the 2018 Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy, the world’s leading anti-bacterial soap brand from Unilever on Monday, 15 October, 2018 visited several schools across Nigeria to teach children about the importance and benefits of proper handwashing with soap.

Themed ‘High 5 for Handwashing’, this year’s celebration, like previous ones seeks to foster a local and global culture of handwashing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention. Unilever has been celebrating Global Handwashing Day since 2008 across the world, and this year is no different, with the celebrations coming to Nigeria on the back of a recent brand relaunch in September 2018, and the addition of popular songstress Omawumi Megbele to the team as the Lifebuoy Brand Ambassador for Nigeria.

The team took a hands-on approach to educate the pupils on how to prevent the spread of germs and diseases by adopting the simple, life-saving act of hand washing. Simple demonstrations to show the efficacy of Lifebuoy antibacterial soap against today’s more resistant bacteria were employed to drive the children’s recall, and the students were taught key occasions for handwashing to enable habit-building.

Speaking at the event, H.E Mrs Toyin Saraki, Founder-President of the Well Being Foundation Africa, remarked “The evidence of handwashing is well-known – it can dramatically reduce the risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia, and thwarts the spread of diseases like Ebola. Access to clean water, good sanitation and hygiene is also a significant factor in the prevention of blindness caused by trachoma”

Omawumi, while speaking on the initiative, described it as apt noting that it will have a direct impact on children under 12 who are the most vulnerable to infection-causing germs.“I am very excited at how actively Lifebuoy has taken up this campaign for handwashing, bringing it to the children one-on-one instead of just advertising through mediums that may be forgotten over time. I have met with and taught kids just like my own how to wash their hands and they now understand better the importance of this habit,” she said.

Also, the Category Manager Skin Cleansing, Osato Evbuomwan corroborated Omawumi’s statement saying: “This Global Handwashing Day, the world will High5 for a special reason – to teach a child handwashing. This is to remind us that basic hygiene interventions like this can make a huge difference in reducing the rate of child mortality, which will in turn improve the health and well-being of Nigerians, especially children under the age of 5”.

Germs today have evolved and are stronger than ever before, with more than 215,000 children under the age of five dying in Nigeria every year from preventable infectious diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. The simple act of handwashing with soap is proven to be one of the most cost-effective, yet often overlooked solutions in preventing these deaths. To this end, Unilever’s new Lifebuoy soap has been formulated with ‘activ-silver’, an anti-microbial agent that provides stronger protection against today’s stronger germs. The ongoing handwashing programme will not only provide access to Lifebuoy soap but will also drive behaviour change that is critical to reducing the incidence of child mortality in the country.